I'm going to start with a truism here: all organizations reflect the beliefs and intentions of their founders. This explains why the half-dozen local conventions in the Twin Cities and their parent organizations all have such different personalities - the people that started those conventions mostly had different ideas about what fandom was and how it should work. Some of those ideas seem strange and weird to us, looking back from a perspective of almost forty years (for that matter, some of those people look pretty strange and weird too - age will do that) but it's fair to say that the ideas that launched most of the conventions we know today would have seemed strange and probably quite disturbing to the people who founded MNSTF in the 1960s and the people running Arcana/Minn-Con since before that.
Anime Detour and its shadowy parent company, Anime Twin Cities Inc., are in a lot of ways the successor to a largely defunct fan organization known as TCAAMS - the Twin Cities Anime and Manga Society. When TCAAMS was founded some twenty years ago there was quite a bit of disagreement over what its purpose should be: should it be trying to launch an anime convention, or should it be trying to establish a tape library? In the end, those members who didn't want to work on a convention won the day, and the rest went off to work on Anime Iowa. With the passing of time and changes in video technology, people became less willing to pay annual dues to TCAAMS and the organization eventually became moribund. If memory serves me correctly, the last meeting was held in 2003, and the last newsletter published shortly before that.
ATC, on the other hand, was organized from the beginning to launch a convention. This is why we have as one of our slogans, "Everybody pays, everybody fights." Having learned from the horrible example of other local fan groups, we resolved from the beginning that the parent company would be joined at the hip to the convention so that there would be no slow drift of the convention away from the parent company's oversight. We also decided that collective leadership was not for us - we wanted someone in charge to make decisions when decisions needed to be made and to serve as an arbiter to avoid having arguments decided by the Last Fan Standing. Thus we have a chairman who effectively serves as Sole Rightful Autocrat, and we're careful to pick chairmen who are conscious of the fact that if they piss off too many of their staffers, they're not going to have a staff.
One of the other factors that affects how we do things is that by and large, most of our membership these last three years are people who have no prior exposure to any kind of convention. We've found it a lot easier to draw a hard line on a number of issues and then gracefully back down when necessary than to be mild and conciliatory up front, because being gentle and non-confrontational makes it a lot harder to bring down the hammer when it's required. Unfortunate as it is, if you get 1500 people together in one place for a weekend, the odds are pretty good that at least a handful of them will act like assholes and have to be dealt with accordingly.
Now, that attitude (along with our unofficial slogan "Brutal honesty - heavy on the brutal") has caused some folks to criticize us as Nazis. Well, aside from the historical illiteracy involved and the automatic win due to Godwin's Law, all I have to say is that on this point I will defer to that great human being and BNF Chris Jones, who famously announced: "Attendance is not mandatory." Thank you and good night.